Tech News

Dead PCs, Gmail Stalking, Bitcoin Overstock, Kindle Kiosk [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 10-01-2014

Today in Tech News Digest, desktops are declared dead, Gmail stalkers get given a gift thanks to Google+, Overstock starts accepting Bitcoin, scanning your irises to protect your identity becomes a thing, Snapchat apologizes, Amazon starts selling hardware from a vending machine, and two companies fight over the right to pin.


Tablets Are Killing PCs

The PC market is continuing to slowly die, with a seventh consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments. According to Gartner (via The Next Web), there were 82.6 million PCs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 6.9 decrease on the same quarter a year earlier.

In total during 2013 there was 315.9 million PCs shipped, a 10 percent drop from 2012, and the “worst decline in PC market history.” In terms of individual companies only Lenovo and Dell saw increases in shipments from 2012 to 2013, with every other company on the slide.

The blame for this dwindling interest in PCs is being placed firmly on the shoulders of tablets, as consumers are increasingly sticking with the main computer they already own and are instead buying a secondary device on which to consume content. And this trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future; probably until everyone and their grandmother owns a tablet Are Tablets Here to Stay? [You Told Us] After the CEO of BlackBerry, Thorsten Heins, questioned how long a shelf-life tablets have to look forward to, we decided to seek your opinions on the matter. After a week of discussions related to the... Read More .

Gmail Gains Google+ Stalking Tool

A new feature has been added to Gmail which means you’ll be able to email anyone you know on Google+ (and vice versa) whether or not you know their email address. There is an option to disable or limit this feature, but you’re opted in by default. Which means strangers will be able to email you until you prevent them from doing so.


If the reaction to the Google+ integration into YouTube YouTube's Comments Section Now Cleaned Up, Courtesy Of Google+ Google has cleaned up YouTube with a new Google+ powered commenting system. You'll now see the most upvoted comments, the ones from people in your Google+ circles, and from the owner of the video. Read More at the end of last year is anything to go by, this won’t go down well with ordinary users. It makes a lot of practical sense, but the privacy concerns are justified. And why, Google, with all the knowledge you possess of people’s sense of fair play, would you make this opt-out rather than opt-in?

Overstock Accepts Bitcoin

Online retailer Overstock is now accepting Bitcoin, becoming the first mainstream website to do so. Bitcoin payments on the site are being managed by Coinbase, described as a “kind of PayPal for Bitcoin.” This move in another step towards the most famous cryptocurrency 3 Bitcoin Alternatives Tested & Compared: Litecoin, Feathercoin, And Terracoin Lately, I’ve been trying to earn some money by mining the Bitcoin alternatives, Litecoin, Feathercoin and Terracoin. After spending the entirety of last week attempting to get free money, I may have succeeded, to an... Read More becoming a true currency used for buying and selling rather than the investment opportunity it’s currently viewed as being.

Myris Scans Your Iris For Security

Dead PCs, Gmail Stalking, Bitcoin Overstock, Kindle Kiosk [Tech News Digest] myris eyelock image


Those people who are deeply concerned about having their identity stolen can now go as far as requiring their iris to be scanned before they access secure accounts. This is thanks to Myris by EyeLock, a device announced at CES 2014 which uses biometric identification to keep you safe from fraud. An extreme solution, perhaps, but one that could become more popular as hackers improve their murky methods.

Snapchat Finally Apologizes

Snapchat has finally apologized for the leaking of millions of users’ phone numbers 4.6 Million Snapchat Usernames & Phone Numbers Leaked; Here's How To Check Yours Snapchat has had a security breach that affects a huge number of its users. Usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million users have been leaked on the website, which has now been suspended. Read More , saying sorry while announcing an update for iOS and Android designed to deal with the issue. The apology isn’t exactly a grovelling one, with “attempts to abuse our API” given as the reason for the leak. The update allows “Snapchatters to opt-out of linking their phone number with their username,” and we would advise everybody to do just that.

Amazon Installs Kindle Kiosk


Amazon is experimenting with selling hardware through vending machines, with a so-called ‘Kindle Kiosk’ having been spotted at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The setting was no accident, with departing CES 2014 attendees likely to walk past it. Which is exactly what GeekWire did. Whether this is a promotional effort or the start of a wider rollout remains to be seen.

Pinterest Vs. Pintrips


And finally, Pinterest and Pintrips are involved in a fight over the right to use the term ‘pin’. Pinterest filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Pintrips in 2013, and Pintrips is now fighting back by claiming ‘pin’ is too generic for Pinterest to claim ownership of it. This is the (only) interesting part of a rather complex legal battle between the two companies.

If you think this is bizarre then just remember that Facebook claims to own the exclusive right to use the word ‘book’ when it’s accompanied by another word, any word, whether it happens to be ‘face’ or not. So, Pinterest is merely following in the footsteps of Mark Zuckerberg, the true innovator of dubious claims over intellectual property rights.


Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks

Image Credits: Christopher Sessums, Niklas Bildhauer

Related topics: Bitcoin, Gmail.

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  1. Howard B
    January 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    "PC Sales Decline" - Blame a combination of Windows 8/8.1 (shipped on all new Windows PCs), the slow decline of Moore's Law (each new generation of chips, RAM, HD/SSD, etc. is gaining less and less improvement), *and* smartphones/tablets, not just the latter.

  2. dragonmouth
    January 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    " Now, TVs seem to be built to last around 5 years. Manufacturers need us to keep buying stuff in cycles, hence 3D, 4K, bendy screens etc."

    Can you say "planned obsolescence?" All commodity items are subject to it.

  3. Scott H
    January 10, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    desktop are not dying out it the school not teaching kid and adults how to fix and upgrade hardware in desktop and you can not fix hardware in tables or upgrade to upgrade you have to buy a complete new one and that a waste of energy and materials in side a tablet where with desktop you can upgrade and it's not a waste of material and energy to make it and you feel more appreciated because you now how it work and because you built it + not all desktop are the same so where with tablets that are all nearly the same and look boring and perform end of them are not great where the desktop have better power better processor and better because it how you set it up and how you like it and not stuck with boring UNgradable table that only do apps and not program and you can have any OS of desktop where with tablets you can only have the OS that on it if your lucky you might be able to change the OS but very rarely but tablet are OK for when your traveling and going place and you need to print stuff and email people don't get me wrong but desktop it the father

    • Scott H
      January 10, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      i still use a Cathode Ray Tube computer screen because it has lasted longer than my other flat screen monitor they do not make things to last like they did back in the 90s hardware and any thing theses days

    • Scott H
      January 11, 2014 at 12:02 am

      it's the same as DJ equipment and any audio equipment to vinyl are making a come back and people said they will die off but they haven't
      just watch this video it really good

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      That's a good point. Certainly desktops aren't being thrown away as easily and readily as they were a few years back. And that's a good thing.

      Your point about technology not being made to last is certainly true. When I was growing up a TV was a huge purchase that was only made once every 20 years or so. Now, TVs seem to be built to last around 5 years. Manufacturers need us to keep buying stuff in cycles, hence 3D, 4K, bendy screens etc.

    • Scott H
      January 12, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Manufacturers back then cared what they make and how long they last where they make a TV and other technology back then they could say i built that but now it all must make it fast and cheap and must hit deadline and must be better than the other Manufacturers and not we must make a good product and must have high quality parts and must work for long time that the same with operating system to and all products now that why if i have a chance and some thing old for sale that cool and still useful i buy it and take good care of it

  4. Joe Brown
    January 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Tablets do not facilitate the creation of content or data. I need a real keyboard to type anything serious; code, non-trivial email, spreadsheets. The convenience of a tablet for ebooks or casual surfing is great, but there will always be a need for a real ergonomic machine.

  5. Tom W
    January 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Consumer PCs do not and will not dominate the market. Business PCs do, and I don't see the majority of businesses switching entire buildings to be completely reliant on tablets. As well as this, there are power users, gamers, designers, graphics renderers, and many more examples of people who require the power of a traditional PC. Yes, a small part of the market is being lost, but that doesn't mean the whole industry is dead or dying. The only reason people are claiming this is as link-bait.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      It makes for a neat, enticing headline, of course. But there is an element of truth to it. The PC market is in freefall, but I suspect it will reach a point where it stabilizes and continues on at that new level.

  6. Shawn Rosvold
    January 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I much prefer using a desktop. You get much more functionality for fewer dollars. I use a tablet or my trusty netbook when I have to, such as when I travel. I hope the desktop market doesn't dwindle to the point where manufacturers stop making them.

    • dragonmouth
      January 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Most of the people switching from PCs to tablets are those that did not need a PC anyway but had to use it because it was the only thing available at the time.

      Desktops/laptops will be with us for a long time since they offer a functionality that tablets never will. Besides, do not forget that in spite what it may seem like, there still are large segments of population that not only do not have PCs of any kind but do not have access to electricity. There still are untapped markets for manufacturers to sell their desktops/laptops.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Most people would agree, desktops are more productive and useful, while tablets are for consumption. They both have a place.

      I don't see desktops/laptops disappearing altogether by any stretch of the imagination. I just think people will go a lot longer between buying new ones than they did 5-10 years ago.

  7. dragonmouth
    January 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    "Gmail Gains Google+ Stalking Tool"
    Makes it sound like GMail will now start stalking users.
    COme to think of it, Google HAS BEEN stalking users, or at least their data, for years.

    "If you think this is bizarre then just remember that Facebook claims to own the exclusive right to use the word ‘book’ when it’s accompanied by another word, any word, whether it happens to be ‘face’ or not."
    Apple vs. Facebook court battle will be interesting to watch since Fruitco will vigorously and with prejudice defend its ownership of "MacBOOK"

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Google has to pay for offering these free services somehow.

      I guess I should have explained in greater detail. If MacBook was the name of a website rather than a piece of hardware then there would be a problem. That would indeed be an enthralling court battle.